Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Epistle to the New Year

Dear New Year 2009:

Since it is traditional for each year in the final stages of its existence to address its successor with a recap of happenings on its watch, as well as some suggestions and even prognostications concerning the future, herein is the tradition carried out. A general summary is that the year was little different from most years, complete with occurrences both good and bad, important and trivial, with the judgments concerning each category very subjectively made.

Technologically, the year was unbelievably productive, the most graphic evidence being that motorists, when having cell-phone conversations interrupted as they crash into trees or lamp posts, can now call the paramedics as soon as their airbags deflate, thus often saving their own lives. Since the most advanced cell-phones also determine a missing pulse within ten feet of its assigned body, a message is beamed directly to the nearest mortuary, thus saving everyone a lot of trouble. Cell-phones with digital/screen displays allow dialoguers to see each other, thus making it nearly impossible for one or the other to lie about location, activity, or companions, thus decreasing (or perhaps increasing) the domestic murder-rate. Those using the latest iPods can now contemporaneously listen to music, watch a movie, play a game, check the usual soap opera, send an insult to the appropriate congressman, and vote in Florida, the latter activity guaranteeing against the formidable challenge of voting machines.

Socially, the driving forces have been accommodated/usurped by the "mainstream media" and involve, as usual, diversity, multiculturalism, discrimination, racism, and hate-Bushism. The d/m/d/r/h-B forces made a stronger than usual effort to have Christ removed from Christmas, as, for example, in Washington, but were repulsed in the final analysis, as proven by the Washington governor being attacked by truth and, facing the danger of losing out politically, restoring Christ to Christmas. Most store head-honchos were not familiar with the second chapter of Luke and simply claimed they thought the proper spelling of "holy days" was simply "holidays" and that Rudolph, in any case, was an ordained animal, perfectly acceptable to the mainline denominations, whether gay or straight.

In looking forward to 04 July 2006, I would suggest you keep a watchful eye on the combined law-school faculties of Yale and Harvard, as well as the House of Representatives, rumored to be lobbying for Independence Day to be renamed The Happy Hour, since the term independence connotes a certain anathema to the concept of victim-hood, which is all the rage currently, not least because of its susceptibility to litigation involving all sorts of discrimination and, of course, multitudes of lawyers. The law-people insist that there never was an American revolution in the first place, since both the governments left standing in 1783 were made up primarily of English-speakers (Anglo-speakers in order not to offend the millions of Mexicans now in the country). Moreover, the term revolution, according to the law-faculty ethicists, possesses a sanguinary sense not suited to civilized discourse and intercourse since the shedding of blood is unthinkable for any reason. These teachers refer to the action in the Middle East as the "Iraqi Governmental Adjustment," since the term war seems to upset students, at least those not in the ROTC, notwithstanding that most students don't know what "governmental" means. Also, most law-school students are now women, thus the demand for a sweeter, gentler nation, except in court, of course, for which courses are now designed to teach toughness, how to swear convincingly, and the art of chasing ambulances while wearing high heels. When not visiting his "love-child," former Senator John Edwards is a primary teacher.

The ideal mantra for African Americans and recommended by the ACLU for all Americans – REMEMBER NEW ORLEANS – was grandly introduced at the Millions More Movement in October 2005 in Washington D.C., when the Reverend Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam, was recognized as the savior of the race. Claiming that the U.S. government had sabotaged the Lake Pontchartrain levee in order to kill blacks (especially if poor), Farrakhan took over from both the Reverends Jackson and Sharpton as the Numero Uno African American alive anywhere in the world until the latest election confirmed Barack Obama in that position. This mantra has taken the place of REMEMBER THE ALAMO and REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR as the slogan of choice and all citizens have been asked to greet each other, as in 2006, using it instead of "Gimme five, what's up, man?" or "Impeach Bush" (too late for that, anyway). This mantra/slogan, it is rumored, will be used by all democratic candidates in the campaigns of your year, and Howard Dean of the SCREAM© fame will bellow it in all his campaign appearances, at least until his larynx ruptures or his lungs deflate, whichever comes first.

Internationally, the nation may or may not be hated throughout the world, depending upon whether one reads an east- or west-coast newspaper, listens to talk-radio, watches the major networks or Fox News, lives on either coast or somewhere in between. Southerners and evangelicals (not necessarily synonymous) tend to think of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq as worthy undertakings, while the Coasters, denominational mainliners, and New Englanders tend to think of United Nations resolutions as edicts directly from the oracle at Delphi. Obviously, the liberal element has been unable to separate the purely domestic from the international and resorts to Deaniac-speak (fast, furious, spontaneous, obfuscatory, largely unintelligible) when pressed for positions on any issues, though "spiritual" liberals (not necessarily an oxymoron) view Obama as the Messiah, who will walk the Potomac instead of Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day. Consequently, expect organizations such as the National Organization of Women and most homosexual/lesbian groups to insist that SCOTUS justices Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalia represent a threat to domestic tranquility, the pursuit of happiness and world peace since they encourage more American births and less womb-murder. The UN-IPCC and Al Gore have predicted that land will disappear in the near future, so have a boat handy and be sure it has AC.

Economically, the nation is in good shape, though the government is now buying up huge chunks of real estate, the auto industry, and the banks, with more purchases to come. The Fed is printing money fast enough to make things happen, though the word is that it's simply borrowing from China, Japan, and Russia, which have threatened to call in all debts and thus foreclose on the nation. So, in the near future, anything bearing the label "made in China" might have been made in Hoboken. The word is that House Banking guru Barney Frank has suggested selling San Francisco to Monaco for enough to bail out the government and everyone else but that Speaker Pelosi doesn't go along since minimum wage in Monaco is $400 per hour for housecleaners and $600 for baby-sitting grandchildren.

Best wishes, New Year 2009, and keep your powder dry; save your Confederate money; make love…not war; if it feels good, do it; hug a tree, and good luck!


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Politics as Comedy

An entirely new wrinkle has been introduced into politics with the entrance of Caroline Kennedy/Schlossberg into...what? Ordinarily, office-seekers campaign in a structured race to get the most votes by the electorate, but the electorate has no say in who the next senator from New York will be, since Senator Clinton’s replacement will not be elected but merely appointed by New York Governor David Paterson. So...there's no race for the seat and the only "crowd" to which an appeal must be made is just that one man. Kennedy, however, is making the stops and pushing the buttons in an effort, apparently, to manufacture so much pressure that the governor will be forced to make her an offer she can't refuse.

There's already enough pressure in that Paterson would be tempting fate and perhaps inviting the scorn of more than half the voters if he doesn't appoint a woman to the job, since a woman holds the seat now and political correctness must be observed. Someday, Paterson probably will run for the governorship, which he simply inherited a while back when former governor Elliot Spitzer was caught in hanky-panky with the ladies of the night. Obviously, he needs the distaff vote.

Six ladies from New York now hold House seats in Washington and would be likely choices, especially since Kennedy's governmental/political experience amounts to zilch minus, especially when compared to theirs. Or in the state, the likely appointee would be experienced Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who also was head of HUD in the Clinton administration for four years. Ironically, he was at one time married to a Kennedy cousin.

Adding a wrinkle to the wrinkle, though not as new a wrinkle, is the fact that Kennedy can use her huge wealth to buy just about anything, even a Washington political office, though folks like Mitt Romney discovered in 2007-08 that money can't buy everything...even a Washington political office.

Or, take the case of Bruce Lunsford of Kentucky. In 2003, a few years after serving as the head honcho of a company, Vencor, that went into bankruptcy, Lunsford, apparently having provided himself a golden parachute, decided to run for the governorship of Kentucky and entered the democrat primary race with a view toward buying the seat. He spent $7 million but somewhere his train ran off the tracks and he fell out with the party, switched sides, and opted to support the republican, Ernie Fletcher, who won the seat.

He decided to make the run again in 2007, dropped another $7 million on the project, made nice with his party...and lost in the primary to Steve Beshear, who won the seat. Not to worry, since Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's seat was up for grabs this year. Yep...Lunsford went for it, won the primary, dropped another $5.5 million...and lost. Total expenditure to unsuccessfully buy a seat somewhere: $19.5 million.

About half of the 100 senators in Washington are millionaires, so Kennedy, Romney or Lunsford certainly would feel at home in the Senate, counting their money and casting the votes (accordingly?). Since maybe one percent of the population is made up of millionaires, it seems a bit unseemly for this deep differential to obtain. Half the senators are millionaires and they all are slated to make at least $174,040.40 per year, beginning in January. Add to that the salaries of the wives who work, probably most of them, and the senators might have a hard time grasping what the so-called "little guy" is facing these days.

In 2005, 28% of House members had million-dollar incomes (according to dissidentvoice.org and not much has changed), so the "people's house" is not hurting as much as the citizens' house and the reps get the same wages as the senators. Median family income in 2005 was $56,194, so the solons might do well not to inordinately criticize the nasty entrepreneurs who make too much. The lawmakers (just think of the expense accounts, great pensions, and the perks) have taken good care of themselves.

Obviously, Kennedy-Schlossberg doesn't need the money, has no experience in government, and is so naive or opportunistic that she runs for election when all that's at stake is an appointment. This is the kind of New York politics that sickens. Caroline's uncle, with little to do and wealthy enough not to have to work after leaving the Johnson administration, moved to New York and won the Senate. Hillary Clinton, with even less to do after hubby Bill was done and her White House digs were gone, moved to New York and went to the Senate. Robert Kennedy at least had had government experience as attorney general, but Clinton had none, as is the case with Caroline.

It's the celebrity thing, of course, coupled with the feminist attack on that monstrous "glass ceiling." As Father Pfleger might have it, Caroline is "entitled," as he sardonically similarly satirically ridiculed Hillary in the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright's church in Chicago, adding considerable body language to provide accent. Perhaps Pfleger should pull that act in a New York church vis-a-vis Caroline in behalf of getting Al Sharpton appointed. After all, it worked for Obamessiah.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ballad of the Bailout

[or the night before Christmas, 2008]

’Twas the night before Christmas and all through the shop
All the elves had been sneaking...well, more than a drop;
In the stable the reindeer had been overfed
And now, nearly foundered, were just short of dead!
In his workshop old Santa, well-worn and quite tired,
Saw his elves stagger wildly and screamed, “You’re all fired!”
With their work in a shambles, all the toys quite ill-made,
He decided on WalMart...go there...make a raid;
So he ran to the stable to hitch up the deer
And found them unable to get off their rear;
Even young Rudolph, with his nose dimly red,
Was rapidly losing that light for the sled!
So mad Claus became that he kicked at the cat...
And that caused Ms. Santa to start a wild spat;
They argued a while, then he threw in his hat...
She yelled, “Just get lost,” and then threw out his hat!
He had second thoughts about making that raid,
Decided that WalMart would have to be paid;
He whined to Ms. Claus that he needed some bread...
She threw out his cards...yeah...she aimed at his head!
So...what could he do in this circumstance weird,
Since the worst that could happen is now what he feared;
He considered FedEx and, of course, U-P-S,
And needed a bailout to set right this mess
Since those outfits cost...well...an arm and a leg,
But with no ride to Congress, not there could he beg;
And then he remembered that Al Gore had said
The North Pole was melting into a seabed;
So he looked all around, all he saw was...yep...ice,
But Nobel affirmed! A sled wouldn't suffice;
He first thought a boat would just do the trick,
But boats cannot fly...that fact made him half-sick!
He thought long and hard...then it suddenly came...
A brilliant idea...helicopter the game!
He contacted Bush and the Air National Guard...
For services free and right to his backyard;
He made a good case to be one "point of light,"
A light that was needed throughout the whole night;
The prexy said "yes" and Claus roared through the sky
And finished his rounds just as morning drew nigh;
And that’s why the WalMart and Toys-Are-Us
And Target and K-Mart put up such a fuss;
Their post-Christmas shelves were as bare as a bear
On Polarized ice, with Gore's seas never there;
With wailing quite loud...oh...so loud and so long,
They joined with G-M in its sad, mournful song
For bailouts and freebies and earmarks and grants,
For things for their shelves...from new toys to new pants;
They all made it clear that the nation would die
If they, like G-M, were to belly-up lie;
And so they were bailed BUT old Santa Claus found
A cell in San Quentin, its features renowned,
Would then be his home...furnished by Uncle Sam –
North Pole credit cards were...well...not worth a damn.

~ Old Killjoy Clark ~

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Shrinking VEEP

There was an interesting juxtaposition of the current vice president and the veep-elect on the talking-head shows Sunday. Chris Wallace interviewed Dick Cheney for Fox and George Stephanopoulis did the honors with Joe Biden for ABC. Interesting. One couldn’t watch both but could catch parts of each.

Chris and Dick discussed the fact that, according to the transition team, Biden somewhere along the way had decided to "shrink" the power of the vice presidency...or at least the executive. Joe and George discussed the "unitary president" thing, Biden thinking the executive branch has arrogated too much power to itself in the current administration, having accused Cheney a while back of perhaps being the most dangerous vice president in all of history. Maybe he forgot Aaron Burr, who, while he was vice president in the Jefferson administration, got so mad he killed Alexander Hamilton. Cheney only used bird-shot and didn't even try for the ultimate.

The most revealing thing in the Biden interview had to do with the fact that Pastor Rick Warren is slated to give the invocation at Barack Obama’s inaugural next month. It was lost on both men that the prayer will be...well, a prayer...like a supplication to God, something that a believer in God would understand almost instinctively. Instead, Biden and Stephanopoulis considered the prayer a political matter only, so the effort was made to determine how the prayer helps or hurts the elected men politically, most likely with a view already toward the next election in 2012.

Of course, the matter of "healing" took center stage, apparently some sort of healing of the American public that the prayer is supposed to miraculously effect, sort of like God thundering from the heavens to the crowd at/on the inaugural stand like He did in the episode of Moses and the Israelites at Mount Sinai in the giving of the Ten Commandments. It's quite probable that most of the citizens don't know they're sick, either individually or collectively or even politically, but they are reminded by the politicians in every election cycle that the great unwashed is in need of healing. The talkers like S and B probably mean a healing that sutures the political parties together without even a scar...and warm-fuzzies all around the operating room. What a laugh! The gashes are what make the difference.

Some of the offended ones in need of healing were especially mentioned – the homosexual/lesbian/bi-sexual/transgender crowd that is screaming mean things because Warren says that marriage can only be a man-woman thing, never mind that Obama publicly said the same thing when he appeared earlier this year in an interview with Warren. Warren campaigned in California – where he lives and has that privilege – to see that the law (Prop 8) codified this position.

Obama, needing the liberal vote, very publicly did the opposite concerning the proposition even though he didn't live in California, making himself either a disgusting hypocrite or simply an opportunist or too stupid to see the disparity or all three. Already on the record as insisting that each state should settle this matter for itself, he could've stayed out of it, but Hillary beat him in California by more than a half-million votes anyway. Does anyone know what Obama actually believes? Only the Shadow knows, presumably.

So, naturally old George asked Joe in behalf of ABC and the screamers for a timeline on when the new prexy would rid the military of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, never mind that Bill Clinton had tried that "military order" thing back in '93 as almost his first presidential action, so necessary to the armed forces are homosexuals. He got the current policy instead of what he wanted, the result being more damaging to the HLBT constituency. Biden was smart enough to explain that Obama has more pressing problems, another way of saying that he will not fight his generals and admirals over that. Sexual perversion is unacceptable in the military, whether in the bathroom, a foxhole or on a ship.

Cheney cited to Wallace as important the fact that the country hasn't been terrorized since 9/11 and mentioned that date as the "highest moment" of the administration. He defended the surveillance programs that Biden criticized at ABC but made his best points when he described his meetings with Congressional leaders, who were acquiescent in the administration's approach and even advised against going to Congress for some specific legislation concerning intelligence-gathering since that would compromise a program that worked. As ranking member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Biden had to know all this. Cheney also defended the interrogation program and insisted that every method used was lawful.

Cheney also mentioned some precedents the administration had for its quick decisions such as concerning the saboteurs tried by a military commission and executed during FDR's conduct of WWII, with the Supreme Court giving a ruling of approval of those commissions. He might have mentioned FDR's and Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus, but he was too nice for that. He did mention that Biden, a law professor, had mistakenly claimed that the executive's power was outlined in Article One of the Constitution. It isn't, of course.

It's not hard to imagine the new veep's role shrinking vis-a-vis its extent in this administration. Obama likely will see to that without any help from Biden, who, nevertheless, characterized the new boss as "clean" and "articulate" during the primary dogfight. This is what he said last February: "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." Was he discriminating against all other African Americans like Condoleezza Rice, maybe? Egad!

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Politician Reflex - LIE!

It's virtually axiomatic that the first impulse by practically all elected officials and bureaucrats when they face a problem (the politically correct term is "issue") is to lie. Most of the time they follow the impulse, only to discover later that they've begun weaving a web of falsehoods in which they become trapped. President Clinton discovered this when he declared that he "did not have sex with that woman." In the process that followed, he was exposed as a perjurer (felon) when he was impeached in the House, but, of course, was not convicted in the Senate.

This is the exact statement of 05 November 2008 on the official Web-site of the office of the governor of Illinois: "Governor Blagojevich Congratulates President-elect Obama and Discusses U.S. Senate Seat To fill President-Elect Barack Obama's Senate seat, Governor will use deliberate process to select Suitable replacement". There's no attempt here to explain the discrepancies in the use of capital letters, as well as the obvious grammatical mess (run-on sentence and, no, there wasn't a period at the end), except that this was prepared in a state office and that just about says it all.

A couple weeks or so later, Obama's campaign manager, David Axelrod, confirmed publicly on television that Obama and the governor had talked about the seat vacated by Obama upon his kick upstairs. Axelrod later recanted (surprise, surprise), so another lie was born (this guy would not have been mistaken), this time trapping Axelrod, who would have been worse than road-kill if he hadn't corrected the "issue" of "misspeaking." After all, of what use is being a campaign manager if not for some plush reward handed out by a satisfied candidate, not one who has been caught in a lie because of a hired hand's recanted "misspeaking?" What rubbish!

Not surprisingly, in a later press conference, Obama used the plural "we" when talking about the back-and-forth with Governor Blagojevich, but realized almost immediately that he should have said "I," which he then did, in explaining that he had NEVER talked with the governor. So...the web was being built, and Obama will sooner or later have to admit some things.

If Obama had simply said he had discussed the matter with the governor, this would be a non-problem (or non-issue, to be politically correct...there are no problems these days). Any half-bright observer would have expected Obama and the governor to discuss this matter, and would have expected that a quid pro quo would be operative. That's how the crooked way government often if not most often works. As he so profanely put it, the governor had a valuable property and he wasn't about to give it away, certainly not for a paltry expression of "appreciation." The governor already was under investigation so he was apparently told by Obama or his gofer that there would be no payoff; otherwise, the stink would have gone ballistic.

So...why haven't these people come clean? They could have avoided all the current problems (okay, issues) by simply telling the truth at the very outset. Instead, they've pointed up once again that the political machine in especially Chicago actually represents an orgy of incest in which the participants take great pleasure in greatly enhancing each other's status/wealth/power/whatever by any underhanded way possible. The LIE is the tool of choice in effecting protection for this racket, but the liars quite often are too clever by half and wind up with their web of deceit choking them. Or...that's another way of saying they're dumb as a gourd and consider the great unwashed out here in the boondocks even dumber, too dumb to see through it all.

Perhaps the most grandiose LIE in the latest campaign was regurgitated by Obama's choice for Secretary of State. It's doubtful that Senator Clinton will ever mention again her trip to Bosnia in 1996. Her excuse for cooking up that scene, simply that she "misspoke," is laughable – no greeting party and dodging sniper's bullets on the tarmac as she and Chelsea ran from the plane for their lives. She had the tale (LIE) rehearsed and told it over and over, apparently never dreaming that someone would produce a comprehensive film of what actually happened – a greeting party including the Bosnian president and small children and a truck loaded with paparazzi clicking away as she and Chelsea grandly marched from the plane on the tarmac.

This sort of blatant dishonesty should have exempted Clinton from consideration for State or anything else and actually should have landed her before the Senate Ethics Committee. She was caught in the web of her own deceit when there was never a reason for it, though she might have thought such a cooked-up farce could gain her some sort of military bona fides – facing down the enemy, maybe, or smart enough to retreat in the face of annihilation. But then, of course, she did have the guts to call General Petraeus a LIAR...right to his face in a public Senate hearing. Get that...the general a LIAR?

Okay...Clinton's LIE was necessary as the primary tool for gaining the presidency and saving the nation. Egad! Is it any wonder that the Congress had an approval rating of just 12% last month, up from 9% in the summer, according to Rasmussen (24 November 2008)? She will be a laughingstock as she meets with foreign officials who are well aware of her perfidy and the reward for it.

The BIG LIE! Tell it often so the dummies out in the boonies will be snowed by it. Three cheers for Obama and Clinton. The voters have spoken.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

KERA - Educational Bomb

Brian Crabtree, age 18, allegedly brutally raped and killed two-year-old Katelynn Stinnett, as reported recently in the Lexington Herald-Leader. That this unseemly, monstrous thing happened is not surprising since the papers are full on practically a daily basis of similar occurrences perpetrated by "significant others," whether shack-up boyfriends or stepfathers or druggies. In many if not most cases, the mother is an accomplice, whether as a passive enabler or as an active participant in the crime.

The Crabtree alleged murder/molestation is different in that Crabtree was "babysitting" his male friend's children, but the result, sadly, was the same. The child's parents had divorced and apparently the bulk of responsibility for the two children involved belonged to the father. This is unusual, but in the current social stance of the country, the unusual is becoming more and more the usual, with the children, the most vulnerable, taking the suffering, bearing the atrocious consequences.

The shocker with respect to Crabtree was noted by his public defender, to wit, that Crabtree had an IQ of 68. This is from Psychologie online: "An easy way to interpret an IQ is to use the following rules: A score that is no more than one standard deviation (=15) away from 100, can be interpreted as a normal score. A score that is between one and two standard deviations away from 100 can be interpreted as low (70-85) or high (115-130). A score that is more than two standard deviations away from 100 can be interpreted as very low (lower than 70) or very high (higher than 130)."

Crabtree has an IQ defined as "very low." What this, if anything, has to do with his crime is yet to be seen. Even more shocking, according to the public defender, is the fact that Crabtree can neither read nor write. Even more shocking than that is the fact that Crabtree graduated from Bourbon County High School last May, apparently right on time for his age. How does a student who can neither read nor write graduate from the eighth-grade, much less from the twelfth? If this is true, what should one suppose about the education system in Bourbon County?

In 1990, the legislature passed the infamous Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA), which included in its provisions the highest tax increase in the state's history, a huge portion of it just pork. The end-all and be-all of this Act, inculcating the concept titled "Outcomes Based Education" and much if not most of which has either been legislatively dismantled or simply ignored or both, was self-esteem. Under this pedagogy, it was okay for the student to calculate that 2+2 equaled 5 as long as the student felt okay.

One can't know about Crabtree's innate cognitive ability, but one thing is sure, namely, that Crabtree entered school around 1996 and spent his entire school experience within the parameters of KERA. Result: inability even to read or write at age 18 (at least functionally illiterate), ergo, the inability to do anything requiring those skills, which is almost anything. Indeed, Kentucky's schools are probably worse now than they were in 1990, but much of KERA remains...more's the pity.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Monday, December 15, 2008

Under the Bus!

It's mid-afternoon in a room over the Anything Goes Bar on a busy street in South Chicago. In attendance are William Ayers, his wife Bernardine Dohrn, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, Father Michael Phleger, and the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, hereinafter referenced as A, D, B, P, and W.

~A: We all know why we’re here, I assume, so...

~W: Actually, I don’t know, Bill...after all, this place was known as the most lascivious – that word's in the King James and means lewd or lustful – speakeasy in all of Illinois during the twenties and thirties and, even though I’ve retired, my former flock would be traumatized if they knew...well...I just came because you said it was a meeting to set up some kind of new damnation for America and...

~P: The King James, did you say, Jeremiah? Man, I gotta get back to reading the Word. All I've been doing lately is trying to form some kind of appeal to the Pope so John Kerry can receive communion again. He might want to run again in...

~D: Hah! Kerry'll be 'way too old in 2016, and Barry has it tied up till then, Mike, so forget the juice and crumpet bit – make that unleavened crumpet – and get back to reading that crucifixion account...wish I coulda been there to hammer the...(giggles hysterically)...nails...oh, what crap!

~B: Watch it, Bern, I'm #$%^&* Eastern Orthodox and I don't appreciate that one &^$#@ bit, so just knock it off right now or I'll get the &^%@# outta here...

~A: Cool it, you guys...cool it right now. Cut Bernardine some slack...she dreamed of Charles Manson again last night and got up and stuck a fork in the cat, so she's having PTSD today. Try a little kindness.

~W: I'm kind, Bill, I'm kind...just puzzled why we can't meet in the library or some place...you know...not some seedy bar...besides, black folk never came to this speakeasy back then. They had to get drunk out on the sidewalk and get hauled off to...

~A: We're celebrities, Jeremiah, the preeminent and most loyal of Barry's supporters. We can't all be seen together in public. In fact, it's better if we're not seen anywhere right now. That might steal some thunder from him right now when he's already trying to explain away old Rod's...

~B: Watch it, Bill! I don't appreciate that one #%^*&^ bit. We were in an honest discussion with Barry's crowd about that &^%(* ambassadorship. Those things are bought and sold after every *&*&*&^ election, as you well know. At least, I didn't threaten to "*&#@^ blow up the...

~D: Hey, hey, blow 'em away...that's the way it was...right, Bill? If we coulda just got enough TNT, we might've blown down the White House...whee...ol' Tricky Dick flyin' over the capitol...without an airplane...oh...ha...ha...

~A: Cool it, Bernardine...those days are long-gone...how I miss 'em...

~P: Did you guys actually blow up stuff? I never really believed anybody would...

~W: Blow up stuff? Man, Bill and Bern put the ol' Hiroshima right on the Pentagon...just like Reagan and his gang put the HIV on us black folk! Father, you need to get out more, especially with that routine on Hillary...oh...hahahahaha...I'm still laughin' at that bump-and-grind routine in my pulpit...had all my folk stompin' and hollerin' and climbin' the walls...all in the spirit, o' course...

~B: %#@**&!!!! This place sounds like the ^#&@% loony bin. Hey, Bill, what did you guys have to sell...or buy...whichever? You didn't go to jail, so some #^&$# Chicago politician got you the %$#& off the hook. Who was it?

~A: Long time ago there, Rod. Dead men tell no tales or lies and neither do I, but when the money's right, anything goes, just like the name of this place. I guess Elliot Ness was the last straight guy in Chicago and that was 'way back in...

~B: Any way we can put the arm on Barry, Bill? We all laid it on the &$^#@ line for him, and he even laid it all on the &^$%# line for me. Any #$@*& loyalty from that end? That %#$&&^ New Yorker article even claimed Barry got to be high-profile stuff when he and Rahm advised on my %&#$* governor-campaign. I called that &^$%** Rahm last night and he just snarled in my ear and said I'd be *^&%$# lucky if I didn't get a *^&#%# horse-head in my bed. Is he throwing me under...

~A: Naw...we just gotta lay low for a while. We're Barry's best friends but we carry a bit of baggage right now. It'll take a while for him to settle in and then...I'm sure he'll replace Hillary with me at State, and maybe see that Jeremiah gets to be chaplain of the Senate and Bernardine – she teaches law, ya know – will replace Holden as Attorney General. Father, you'll probably be ambassador to the Vatican. That act in Jeremiah's church bought you almost anything you want – stopped Hillary cold.

~D: Whee!!!! Attorney General!!! Oh, Bill, we can put half of Congress in jail...maybe even water-board the suckers. There's enough corruption in that outfit to make old Blago here look good. As the Indians say...get out the long knives to the Long Knives...whee...maybe do executions by guillotine. Oh....hahahahaha!!!!!

~A: Throwing you under the what, Rod? Barry's loyal...he'll see that you get either a job or the best cell at Eglin. Not to worry...they have a great golf course there.

~P: Oh...I get it...under the bus. Oh...what a joke. I get it...I get it. That's why Barry has said he doesn't remember who we are...under the bus...oh...how quaint!

~W: Bill, you still haven't explained why we're here.

~A: It's to set up our new organization to get ready to make sure Barry wins again...in 2012.

~D: Will it have an arsenal...especially for bombs, RPGs, machetes, butcher knives, AK-47s?

~A: Cool it, Bernardine. Barry is known not only as the messiah but also as the smartest guy in Washington, so I've thought of the best name for the new organization: the Universalism to Negate Demeaning of Erudite Realists, Theologians and Honest Educators Basic to the United States.

~P: Oh...it will be known by its acronym...UNDER THE BUS! How cool!

~A: H-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-a-a-r-r-g-g-h-h-A-A-R-R-G-G-H-H-A-A-R-R-G-G-H-H!!!!!

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Friday, December 12, 2008

Government - Just Print Money, Build Cars?

As a continuation of his assertion that a diversity of religions militated against the danger of one that might become a political party, James Madison wrote in Federalist #10 in November 1787: "A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State." Madison obviously could not have conceived of a whole nation raging for paper money and an abolition of debts, acting through the people's elected officials. One state? Yes. The nation? No, but that's what seems to be happening.

It is instructive that the Constitution forbids states from being operated beyond their means of taxpayer or other support, as in line with Madison's thinking, while at the same time the nation, driven by its elected officials into red ink, is intent upon printing money and allowing huge corporations to willy-nilly become debt-free at the same time those "little people" unable to make mortgage payments are introduced to the street, many if not most of them at the behest of the banking systems bailed out by the government. The unfairness of this is palpable, especially since that same government (Congress) made it possible for this very thing to happen, first by establishing institutions such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, then encouraging them to award mortgages to people who couldn't afford them, and then completely ignoring its responsibility of oversight. This is disgusting. Madison must be spinning.

As if the current state of affairs is not bad enough, the current Congressional clamor led by the democrats is that the Congress must also bail out automobile companies (okay, American automobile companies), notwithstanding that they choose not to insist on conditions that will allow those companies a chance to compete on a level playing-field with foreign-owned companies, the only way they can repay any government loan. By extension, of course, this can mean any company. Strangely, however, the lawmakers sat idly by while practically all manufacturing entities other than the car industry farmed out their production to foreign countries – everything from shoes to wearing apparel to electronic gadgets and on and on over the last decades.

A tragic figure in this mess is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in whose Kentucky is located not only the huge Toyota plant in Georgetown, as well as American Toyota headquarters in northern Kentucky, the huge Ford truck-plant in Louisville, and many small privately-owned suppliers to these plants and others. He understands the problem associated with a unionized GM worker realizing a total package of $69.00 ($29.78 in salary) per hour while his un-unionized counterpart at Toyota receives $48.00 ($30.00 in salary), as reported by the Associated Press. The GM worker makes 44% more than the Toyota worker. A differential this huge is intolerable if General Motors is to operate competitively. McConnell, in an act of actual statesmanship, has taken the high road, demanding that the auto companies and UAW get their acts together. This could be costly politically, so he can be thankful that he's just been reelected. The wonder is, however, that American companies have been able to do as well as they have.

This country needs desperately to recapture its manufacturing base. In order to do this, both workers and management will be required to scale back. In this regard, it should be noted that many if not most auto- workers are paid nearly their working-wage while they are laid off. In other industries, such as the railroads, this is not the case, this fact known in this corner personally. The unreal bonuses and golden parachutes must become a thing of the past. The clothing and electronic industries need to come home. Toyota has proven that companies who do well by their workers do not have to be unionized and thus be constricted by often intolerable labor contracts. Unionized workers need to bring their hierarchies under control, since union honchos are no different from those in management – out to drain the "little people" for every possible dollar.

This is a turning point in the nation's existence. The incoming administration is heavily socialist-oriented and can seize this recession as the tool for getting its way, especially as coupled with a democrat-controlled Congress. Incoming president Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, recently said this: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." That's not even subtle. The government is already into banking. Democrats are clamoring for a "car czar," meaning government control of the auto industry. The citizens will wind up "eating cake" if wise heads do not prevail and if statesmanship is not allowed to trump petty partisan politics and flawed governance determined to make the state and not the individual the be-all and end-all of everything.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Bumbling Congress

And the beat goes on. Not in the adult lifetime of this writer has there ever been a time such as now when both the government and the private sector have become so totally leaderless that the nation is in danger of economic collapse and/or a rapid increase of speed downward toward the now almost certain socialism that the liberals have craved for so many years. In the private sector, greed and stupidity on the part of both management and labor are the culprits. In the government sector, corruption and stark incompetence are the culprits.

Why did the banking and mortgage institutions fail, precipitating the domino-effect with respect to other enterprises? They failed because the members of Congress collectively sat on their well-appointed behinds and completely deserted their oversight responsibilities, whether for reasons of financial or campaign-fund gains or out of sheer petty politics. Who knows? In the Senate, for instance, every trick imaginable and reams of hours of time have been expended in unsuccessfully trying to nail somebody in the administration for the firing of a handful of federal prosecutors, notwithstanding that they can be fired without cause at any time, as proven when Bill Clinton sacked all but one of them on the same day in 1993 without so much as a fare-thee-well.

The nation's welfare is not the primary interest of this Congress. This was proven baldly in the recent elections throughout the nation. The filling of campaign chests is the primary interest. The fact that Obama could actually raise $743 million just to run for one office is both unbelievable and intolerable. This kind of waste also speaks ill of a nation whose "little" people are so gullible that they give of their hard-earned cash, not realizing that the "fat cats," institutionally and individually, on the prowl for whatever they can gain actually put up most of the money. Everything in Washington and state capitals is bought and sold, and the "little" people are not in the market.

Predictably as the result of "nobody being at home" in both government and private enterprises, the nation, cursed with bickering partisans in Washington, has wandered into the wilderness and seems slated to remain there for a long time...just like the Israelites of the Old Testament, who fell into bickering on practically the day after Moses led them from slavery in Egypt and, as a result, were banished by God to the wilderness for 40 years, or roughly until the generation of the ingrates had passed on.

Now, it appears that the Congress is about to appoint some sort of "automobile czar," thus socializing the car industry, just as it is already in the business of running the banking systems, this latest, of course, after throwing billions of taxpayer dollars into the car-makers' enterprise as it did with the banks. When Obama and his democrat Congress gear up in January and begin enacting their social programs, it's gangbusters time. The nation can survive by printing money for just so long. Sooner or later, the bottom will disappear and the government will own everything and tell the citizens exactly what they can and cannot have or do.

This is not what the founding fathers had in mind. They set up a very small federal government but succeeding generations, especially in the last 75 or so years, have made it into the end-all and be-all of everything. In the last 35 or so years, it has operated on the basis of political correctness, not to be mistaken for civil rights, the ultimate philosophy/result of that concept being socialism. As the nation is driven toward this political form – mistakenly believing it the course of least resistance – personal incentive will be deadened and all the desired results accruing to the using and compensating of the brightest and the best will not materialize.

Soon, drastic budget-cuts will be the "wailing cry." The cuts will come primarily from the defense budget, this administration being the first one since at least the 1930s to be composed of a president and vice president with not a smidgeon of military experience, not even boot camp, nor have the House Speaker and Senate majority leader worn the uniform. The magic word now is "diplomacy," as if actual threats to national security can simply be "talked away" at the very time when governments run by Islamic fanatics have vowed to rule the world and apparently intend to use terrorism as the main weapon until such time as they can raise actual armies.

Not even the Great depression of the 1930s, infinitely worse than the current recession, propelled the nation toward socialism. It remains to be seen whether or not current lawmakers have the intestinal fortitude to take a stand in favor of the free enterprise system that has made this nation the envy of the world. Getting rid of a majority of bumbling legislators through the electoral process seems impossible, so one can only hope.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


There are some sad sights to be seen occasionally on the TV "nature shows," hapless zebras torn apart by hyenas or full-grown fish snatched from the water by powerful birds of prey – the weaker manipulated and killed by the stronger. The game is survival and it's nature's way, but it's unbearably ugly. The winner gains only existence, nothing more, nothing less.

There are some sad sights to be seen now in this country in the arena of politics. In this area, the weaker has almost always been neutralized by the stronger, never mind who or what is right. One would hope that the major motivation occasioning the fights between individuals and/or parties is the preserving (survival) of the nation. More often, they seem to primarily concern the survival of the individual and/or the party. In other words, the winner, instead of merely gaining existence, whether for self or party, gains whatever level of existence is desired, whether premised on money, fame, power, or whatever.

There are some sad sights to be seen now in this country in the arena of commerce. They reflect the same elements as those of politics – mainly those concerning or driving self-interest. The recent failures of the banks and mortgage institutions, eventuating unhappily in failures of enterprises all across the economic spectrum, are the result of self-interest carried to the penultimate degree, which degree always involves the stronger few impacting adversely the weaker multitudes. Thus, the few heavily compensated greed-addicts at the top secure their filthy lucre on the backs of those who toil.

There are some sad sights to be seen now in this country in the world of labor unions, though their power has greatly diminished to the point that they now represent only some 12% or so of workers. The bosses at the top have made an industry of...well, being at the top. There was a time when these people served a useful purpose in securing living-wages and other benefits but brainwashed the rank-and-file into believing that the worker deserved as much as the entrepreneur who whether by intelligence, inheritance, risk-taking, or just plain good luck "made it." A good example was seen in the late 60s when the United Transportation Union was formed as a merger of other rail unions with one result being the installing of some 23 or so vice presidents, if memory serves, complete with offices, staffs, expense accounts, etc. The union membership was only 230,000 at that time. If Walmart today had the same ratio (1:1,000), it would need 1,900 vice presidents for its number of employees, 1,900,000 in 2006. Weird!

A blue whale can eat up to four tons of krill (shrimp-like invertebrates) a day just to exist. A crooked CEO can work a deal gaining him tens of millions of dollars a year, while the assembly-line worker or fast-food laborer makes chump change by comparison, but the CEO could still make a fair salary providing for luxuries in addition to existence on perhaps only ten times the wages earned by the drones. Use this analogy in conjunction with politicians, business folks and union leaders. That, too, is ugly.

As bad as these elements are singly, when in collusion they are deadly. When entrepreneurs (lobbyists) combine with politicians, they deliver a double-whammy to the little people. How did the CEOs manage to feather their nests and establish their golden parachutes while bringing down their companies and throwing thousands out of work and/or literally stealing their homes? First, they got the proper laws passed. Enter, for instance, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, creatures of both private and public enterprise. Then, the governmental watchdogs, known as the Congress-people, look the other way. The regulators can be straight as a stick, as has been shown for a number of years, but if their hands are tied by a Congress either fast asleep, on the take, or just plain dumb...gangbusters!

Add the unions to the mixture and the collusion is even dirtier, although union members actually belong to the little people. They get cheated by their own outfits, although they also provide the manpower and money to keep the right folks in power in order to advance their agendas. They've helped the entrepreneurs in this country lose especially their manufacturing bases to other countries...priced both sides (management & labor) right out of the market. Result: the loss of a middle class.

Some 20 years ago, this writer, as a Norfolk Southern Railroad employee, noticed the railroad roadbed. The trains had cars of American rolled-steel in their consists, but the 132-pound rail (132 pounds per linear foot) on which the trains were operated came from Japan. Japan, which is the world’s second largest economy but lacks natural resources, imports all of its iron ore, with 60% coming from Brazil. Get the picture. In the U.S., there were all the iron ore, coal and everything else to manufacture rail, but the Japanese could import every ton of iron ore it used from all around the globe, produce product, pay shipping, and still undersell the American steel mills. American steel-towns have been dying since the 60s, taking the middle class with them.

Two things are necessary to the existence of both a democracy and a capitalistic system, proven by this country to be the best government model and best economic model, respectively, in the world: integrity and an educated population. The former is sadly lacking in this country now and the result of this lack is obvious in the current recession. Former Fannie Mae CEO Frank Raines, for instance, was hounded out of his office account of an accounting scandal, otherwise known as "cooking the books," but not until he had accumulated scores of millions of dollars. He was both a private and governmental executive – the perfect example of collusion...the whale (greedy bureaucrats/politicians/entrepreneurs/unionists) swallowing the krill (the little people).

And so it goes.

Jim Clark